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Israel 11, U.n. 9, Washington 7, Alex Witt 7, Us 5, Alex 4, United States 3, Clinton 3, Sandy 3, America 3, Willie Geist 3, Palestine 3, U.s. 3, Unitedhealthcare 2, United Nations 2, Nbc 2, Boehner 2, Amie Parnes 2, Willie 2, Amie 2,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    December 1, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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126 days, roughly a third of the year. that's it. other two thirds of the year is reserved for time not spent at work. there are three months next year when the house will be in session for a grand total of eight days. so if you liked the do-less than the do-nothing congress we've had this past year, you are going to love the next congress. next year. don't blink because you might miss them. "weekends with alex witt" starts now. almost nowhere. that's the words from the gop on fiscal cliff talks. but exactly where is that? and how will congress and the white house get somewhere? the tug-of-war in the middle east. some new wrinkles that beg the question, is any resolution in sight for israel and the palestinians? unsolved mystery. that huge powerball jackpot raised some unanswered questions beyond who won. having their cupcake and eating it, too. big new twist in the hostess going out of business story. good morning, everyone.
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welcome to "weekends with alex witt." let's get to what's happening right now out there. there is new intrigue in the fight over the fiscal cliff talks today. both sides have messages out this morning that seem to echo the same old position. this on the heels of president obama holding a campaign-style event in suburban philadelphia to sell his solution. he said if congress does not extend the bush tax cuts for the middle class, everyone's taxes will go up january 1st. >> i'm assuming that doesn't sound too good to you. that's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas. that's a scrooge christmas. >> meanwhile house speaker john boehner says the latest proposal from the white house would cripple the economy. the plan calls for a boost in revenue by $1.6 trillion over the next decade. >> they want to have this extra spending that's actually greater than the amount they're willing to cut. i mean it's, it's -- not a
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serious proposal. so right now we're almost nowhere. >> >> mike viqueira joins us live from the white house. where is almost nowhere? >> it's inside the beltway and it's business as usual. it's also december 1st, alex, and we have exactly one month now to avert the fiscal cliff and avert what everybody agrees would be economic catastrophe. of course that combination of $500 billion, a half a trillion dollars in extra taxes for americans, about $2200 just next year alone for the average family. $100 billion in spending cuts, automatic spending cuts, part of that sequester, from the deal that we went through last year that we took right up to the last minute. so, there are two things that are clear here after the president's proffer, one the president and the white house feel as though they have the upper hand here, there's no question about it. number two, they're playing hardball. number three, i'll add a third one, we are in the preliminary stages, believe it or not, as we enter this final month. here are the basic outlines of what the president is proposing,
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$1.6 trillion in new revenues. of course most of that, or at least a little better than half of it comes from raise being taxes on the top 2%, something the president campaigned on, something that the white house is now doubling down on. $600 billion in cults to programs mostly coming from medicare and other programs, as well. there are other odds and ends in there, an extension of unemployment benefits, important to a lot of people. new stimulus spending in the form of $50 billion for infrastructure. extending the payroll tax holiday that's been in effect for a couple of years, and averting some of these other taxes, like the alternative minimum tax that are coming down the pike. so we are still in the prepositioning stage here. they're still staking out their positions. it all comes down to the votes. and that's why the president went out there to philadelphia, the suburbs of philadelphia, yesterday. that is a -- that is a area intense with swing congressional districts. he's not trying to gain electoral votes for himself. that's all over with. but another kind of campaign continues. he's trying to move votes in the
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house of representatives. some of the republicans that represent those districts are out in philadelphia, alex. >> okay, mike viqueira at the white house. thank you for that update. we appreciate it. now, to a work schedule we could all envy. republican house majority leader eric cantor released the new house calendar for next year. house lawmakers are scheduled to meet for 126 days in 2013. a slight increase from this year. it also means they will have 239 days off, including weekends. republicans want the extended periods to spend back in their home districts. the senate has not yet announced its schedule. new and scattered pieces in the complex middle east puzzle. secretary of state hillary clinton now criticizing israel's plan to settle parts of east jerusalem in the west bank. the move to build more than 3,000 homes would essentially cut the west bank in half. clinton reiterated u.s. support for israel but condemned the move. >> let me reiterate that this administration, like previous administrations, has been very
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clear with israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace. we all need to work together to find a path forward in negotiations, that can finally deliver on a two-state solution. >> israeli announcement comes hours after the u.n. voted overwhelmingly to grant palestine a non-member observer status. john ray from our british broadcasting partner itn is live in tel aviv. john, good day to you. first up, what is the effect of the settlement announcement? and will israel really move forward with these plans? >> well, you could really hear and see and feel the frustration in hillary clinton's words there, couldn't you? the reason is because, if there are people who still believe in the meaningful prospect of peace settlement, these have been a very depressing couple of days here. the u.n. votes in favor of the
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palestinian status upgrade and then this countermeasure from the israelis. let me be clear about this. this comes in two chunks. first of all the 3,000 homes the israelis say they will now build. that will come within existing settlements on the occupied west bank, and possibly extending some of those settlements. it would also be within the arab east part of jerusalem. again, extending existing settlements. but the really controversial plan that the israelis have is to speed up plans to develop a land known as e-1, it's five square miles of dusty hillside. but it is crucially important, because if they do go ahead and build on that land, they will effectively split the west bank in half, north and south. and the west bank is a land earmarked for the palestinian state. and it will simply not be viable if the israelis go ahead with that. peace activists here on the israeli side have said that pretty much is a deal breaker. like a fatal heart attack to the whole idea of a two-state solution. to my mind, that is a threat to
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the israelis are making, a very real threat. but i think it's also a negotiating chip, a marker, the kind of thing that they might want to talk about if negotiates do resume. >> so, john, reaction from citizens on both sides? what's that been like? >> well, on the israeli side, even from people who represent the settler community, some half a million israelis who live within eastern jerusalem and the west bank. of course there's delighted that new settlements are coming. but they are frankly surprised by the timing, one saying that, well, we like the new settlements, but the timing seems to be going out of its way to alienate even our few remaining friends in the international community, most notably, of course, america. on the palestinian side, predictable outrage. they call it a very provocative gesture, they're saying it shows the -- that what they're trying to do, going to the united nations for recognition, is definitely trying to preserve
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the last remnant of hope in the two-state solution. they're saying that the israelis are pretty much sabotaging that plan. >> the fact that the u.n. changed the status from observer entity to observer state, i mean, it's that word state that makes all the difference, right? >> sure, yeah. and it is more than symbolic. for example, this weekend, what was the palestinian authority is changing its letterhead to put the word palestine on its e-mails and its letterheads, that kind of thing. but beyond the symbolism, it doesn't really change any of the facts on the ground. it doesn't do away with the israeli checkpoints, the israeli soldiers or the settlements. what it did do, i think, for the palestinians, was to show that the tide of international opinion is working in their direction. they will not vote by an absolutely massive majority. the israelis found themselves in a minority of mind, as well as the united states and canada, nations that do matter. they were left with the likes of
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micronesia supporting them. i think the real danger for the israelis in this settlement move now is that they alienate the few friends they do have left and find themselves further isolated. >> those numbers, 138 voted for, only 9 against. 41 abstentions. so you make that point very well for us. all right, john ray, thank you so much. well back here in the states, a dramatic weather story to report. a rain-soaked northwest is preparing for the third of four consecutive storms. the most intense rainfall begins tonight, and heavy snow is falling in the mountains. nbc meteorologist dylan dreyer is here with the national forecast. good morning. >> good morning, alex. yes, the rain out west has been very intense. we've already picked up about five to ten inches of rainfall in portions of california, and oregon. up into southwestern washington state, as well. we are going to see more rain today, but a stronger storm is going to move in for sunday. that one also has the potential to produce another several inches of rain. we've seen wind gusts so far up to around 60 to almost 90 miles
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per hour. so these are intense storms that are just hitting the west coast from seattle through portland, all the way down into sacramento, california. even stretching as far south as san francisco. we do have a lot of rain out there that way. we are looking for another 3 to 5, even isolated 6, 7, inch reports on top of what has already fallen. this is mostly a rain event, as well. although we are picking up some mountain snow, it's more or less the rain that has been the biggest issue, along with those gusty winds. elsewhere we aren't really looking at a whole lot going on across the eastern half of the country. few light snow showers possible across new england later on tonight. just making the roads a little slippery. not a whole lot of accumulation. we are also in addition to all that's going on going to see record-breaking high temperatures down across texas, with highs today topping out in the 80s for the first day of meteorological winter. so we are going to see well above average temperatures down south. alex? >> okay, dylan dreyer, thank you so much. falling over the fiscal cliff. the dramatic impact it would
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have on one life-saving organization. also the new twist in the twinkie saga. how hostess could get a second life while executives run off with some big dough? plus willie geist on office politics right here on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ aids is not going to take my baby. ♪ aids will not take our future. ♪ our weapons are testing... education, care and support. ♪ and aids... ♪ aids is going to lose. aids is going to lose. ♪ campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪
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now to mystery surrounding the second winner of that massive powerball jackpot. one couple has come forward with their golden ticket. the other winner, though, still unknown. there's some surveillance video showing a man who appears to be celebrating after checking the numbers on his ticket. but he hasn't come forward yet. nbc's tom costello is in maryland with the very latest. tom, good morning. let's clear this up.
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>> well, let's run through what happened here. this was thursday at lunch time, and a gentleman came in, wearing that big reflective suit, looks like he worked for a highway crew, and out of his pocket he pulled what looked like to everybody in the store, like a legitimate arizona powerball ticket. he asked to compare the numbers. they said, it looks like your numbers match. he became very excited. he started celebrating, asking other people, look at this. do my numbers match? everybody in the store thought the numbers matched. and, in fact, we talked to one of the people in the store at the time, and they said that ticket certainly looked legitimate to them. >> he was excited. you know, he just -- have you seen the video when he was, you know. and he walked back and forth here three or four times. >> all right. so the question is, is that guy you see celebrating there in the video, is that the same guy that the local nbc station here in washington tracked down at a virginia d.o.t. lot yesterday? he was wearing what looked like the exact same uniform, that
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florescent uniform, was driving what looked like the same black suv, but he sped away, wouldn't talk to the reporter. one of his coworkers, however, said he'll have something to say later, and no, he doesn't think this is a hoax. so, we are all waiting. meanwhile, more on missouri. because we know more about the people who won at least half of the jackpot out of missouri. we heard yesterday from mark and cindy hill, along with their three sons and daughter, they all came forward yesterday, in their small hometown to claim their half of the record prize. cindy described the very moment when she realized they had, in fact, won. >> well, i didn't find out till the next day, after i'd taken my daughter to school, and i went by to see what the numbers were, and i got back in my car, and i didn't have my glasses, and i was thinking, is that the right numbers? is that the right numbers? and i was shaking, and i called my husband, and i said, i think
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i'm having a heart attack. >> yeah, no heart attack. in fact, they won half the powerball jackpot. and everybody in this small town says it couldn't have happened to a nicer group of people. a nicer family. they have struggled with the economy in recent years. they said they don't expect their lives will change that much. but they said, christmas just got a whole lot better. alex, back to you. >> i love this story. i could hear you go on and on. can't wait to find out the confirmation of the second one. thank you so much, tom. so, what would you do with your powerball winnings? you can all talk to me at twitter, my handle is @alexwitt. i'll be reading some of your tweets throughout the day. let's go back to washington now, though, and little apparent progress on the so-called fiscal cliff talks. actually that's putting it mildly. it appears both sides may be digging in their heels. joining me now, congressional reporter for the washington "post" ed o'keefe and washington reporter for the hill, amie parnes. amie let's get with the president's proposal first. it includes $1.6 trillion tax
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hikes over ten years, that's raising rates on the top 2%, making over $250,000. now this proposal also calls for $50 billion in immediate stimulus, and $400 million in long-term savings from the entitlement program. the gop says, this is just a wish list for the democrats and a nonstarter. can you explain where we are in all this? >> no, not really, i can't. i mean it's all a big mess right now, you know, they're in a stalemate apparently. the president is kind of optimistic. he says he's optimistic that there's going to be a deal by christmas. reporters are keeping our fingers crossed so we can actually head home for the holidays. i think washington is, too. but i think that, you know, everyone sort of is trying to figure out out. i think white house aides are telling me they are willing to compromise a little bit. but that was their initial wish list and now they're waiting for speaker boehner and republicans to kind of counter that offer. >> ed, i guess there are two ways to look at this. on the first hand the president just wants to use this as a starting point for negotiations
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to get to compromise. or maybe he feels he has an election mandate, and is operating from a position of strength. which one is it? >> that's part of it for sure. but you heard him say yesterday, look, this was our starting point. we know that both sides are going to have to make some painful concessions, and we'll see where things go. but, yeah, i mean the fact that he's going out there to, you know, swing congressional districts in pennsylvania, he may make similar trips in the coming days, sort of shows you that he knows that he has the popular mandate, that he did this a few years ago when there were fights over the payroll tax extension and it worked taking it to the people who then applied pressure to lawmakers. but inevitably he's going to have to sit down at the table again. i think there are a lot of people up on capitol hill frustrated that he seems more interested in using his bully pulpit than on using his conference rooms to help cut a deal. another thing to keep in mind, the countdown clocks say 30 days to go, 31 days to go. really, it's like 20, 21 days to go. >> yeah. >> because if you can't get something written by december 21st, which is a friday, you
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know, that gives you, say, friday the 21st, saturday the 22nd, maybe sunday the 23rd, but then you have christmas. so you figure maybe two days off for that. then you have the 26th to the 31st. you really don't have that much time to write something to start getting it through the legislative process in the house and the senate, because inevitably there are going to be some changes made and you're going to have to go back and forth between the two chambers and get them passed. >> so this proposal though coming from the president, amie, might it make the gop take too rigid of a stance when they listen to it? i mean it's like digging in heels on one side and then on the other? >> yeah, you heard mitch mcconnell was laughing about it. they're not taking it very seriously. but i think the white house is willing to sort of come back on the table. i think you're going to see white house aides going back to capitol hill. they'll be back and forth on pennsylvania avenue, sort of negotiating this. and, yes, they do have three weeks or so to get this out. that's a lot of time in washington. and like ed said, the payroll tax debate, i think we're going to see echoes of that. they're going to be working up
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until the last minute. and we'll see some kind of deal, i would hope. >> you know, ed, there are those who say, though, that the gop may be in a more desperate position. in fact, if the democrats refuse to back down on any parts of this plan, and the country then goes over the cliff, the administration could point fingers and blame the gop. that's one sense of ideology. is there anything to that? >> well, not only could they point fingers and blame the gop, then, of course, they could just cut everyone's taxes, because everyone's taxes will have gone up on new year's day. and in a sense it could then be a win-win for everyone. of course the economic consequences are unknown. but everyone is warning that it would cause not only big problems for people's taxes next year but conceivably plunge the stock market, and maybe start pushing the country back into a short-term recession. >> hmm. >> so i don't know that everyone -- anyone really wants to take that risk. certainly there are democrats that have said, go over the cliff, call the republicans' bluff. we'll sort things out early next year and cut a deal. and remember there are republicans, especially in the senate but a few in the house, who are saying, look, let's raise -- let's cut taxes for
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just about everyone. and sort out the higher income folks later. perhaps later this month, or if not, early next year. you know, and it's true that, you know, you could conceivably settle tax issues for about 98% of the country right now. it's just that republicans don't want 20 do that. they'd rather see tax rates, you know, if anything, go down, if not just stay where they are. and then sort out loopholes through next year. >> amie, what, what's happening with the president, he goes out and talks and invokes scrooge, just outside of philadelphia, this fiscal cliff tour. what is the conventional wisdom on that? and why does the white house feel it needs to do that? >> i think they feel the need to talk to the people. you've heard -- i've heard white house aides tell me that, you know, he wants to continue sort of that campaign theme. he likes being out in the country. he likes being in these swing states and he's going to continue directly talking to the american people. that's kind of angering some republicans, because, like ed said, they want him back at the negotiating table. they don't want him using his bully pulpit. >> okay.
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i like you guys using yours. ed o'keefe, amie parnes, good to see you both. thank you. >> thank you. a big bake sale for hostess. plus the uproar over holiday bonuses those executives want. remember this guy? eric hartsford said he tattooed the mitt romney, paul rayon logo on his face. of course the election is over and so is the fun apparently. the indiana man plans to have the tattoo removed from his face. he said a gop supporter paid him $15,000 to get that tattoo and he kept it until after the election. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up
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sandy's impact. buyers are back. and a big bake sale. joining me live now forbes staff writer morgan brennan. >> good morning. >> first off let's talk about hurricane sandy which took quite a toll on consumer spending. the commerce department says that fell in october, after rising in september. but then the third quarter gdp rose higher than estimated. so how can they both be true, morgan? and does this continue in the coming months? >> it's a great question, and i think the way to explain it, actually, is to start with that gdp number. the reason we saw gdp rise in the third quarter was because businesses are restocking their inventory levels and actually because government spending ticked up by about 9.5%. both of those added to economic growth in the third quarter. both of those are not necessarily sustainable. consumer spending on the other hand makes up about 70% of gross domestic product. we saw that tick down in part because of hurricane sandy in the third quarter. the early numbers for november, despite robust black friday are showing that consumers are still not really spending. that number is looking pretty flat. given that fact, estimates,
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analysts are estimating that those fourth quarter is not going to look so good. numbers as low as 1% as far as economic growth is concerned. quite frankly pretty terrible. >> that's not good. how about pending home sales? a little brighter there. the highest level since march of 2007. the contracts to buy existing homes have surged a little over 5% there. there seems to be momentum. do you expect this to continue? is it sustainable? >> i actually do. this is the latest rosy recovery report we've seen as far as housing is concerned. it's another so-called bright spot of the economy, housing is. we've seen some very good reports. a lot of economists are saying we're starting to see a recovery, i tend to agree. pending home sales are up about 13%, versus this time last year. i don't think in the short term that those sales are going to, you know, be quite as strong in those final months of the year, simply because of the seasonality and also because of the looming fiscal cliff. that said, long-term into next year i think we will see this nascent recovery start to blossom and become something
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bigger. >> what about hostess saying more than 100 companies are interested in buying the brands? >> yes. so hostess as we know has been going through a messy bankruptcy situation for the past year. and as of thursday, bankruptcy judge has allowed hoezest to begin liquidating, they're going to shut about 18,000 jobs over the coming year. they're looking to sell these assets. they've got about 110 suitors thus far and they're expecting that their assets are going to sell for about $1 billion. so that's actually pretty good news, even though you're not going to necessarily see your twinkies on the shelves any time soon, they're not gone forever. >> and, and of course executive bonuses which we'll talk about later in the day. thank you so much. crunching the numbers in the fiscal cliff fight. does any of it cut america's national debt? we'll talk about it on "weekends with alex witt." this is america. we don't let frequent heartburn come between us and what we love. so if you're one of them people who gets heartburn and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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rallies today in approval of a draft constitution that passed yesterday. opponents of that measure have held protests and remain in tahrir square. south korea calls north korea's announced plans to fire a long-range test rocket a grave provocation. north korea says it will fire the rocket between december 10th and 22nd. recent satellite photos appear to show launch preparations. mexico has a new president, enrique pena nieto assumed that office in a small ceremony after midnight and will be sworn in later today. in southern new jersey, a large area surrounding the scene of a derailed freight train has been evacuated. four tankers tumbled and released dangerous chemicals that made dozens of people sick. residents might have to stay away for several days. and people are flocking to north carolina, the city known as christmas town usa where the holiday lights went on last night and will draw thousands of visitors through the season. those are your fast five headlines. let's go back to washington now, and the imposing calendar one month from day the united states will be launched over the
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fiscal cliff if congress and the white house can't agree on a resolution. president obama and house speaker boehner took the fight to the podiums. >> it's not acceptable to me and i don't think it's acceptable to you for just a handful of republicans in congress to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up. that -- that doesn't make sense. >> it's not a serious proposal. and so, right now, we're almost nowhere. >> joining me now is nancy cook, budget and tax correspondent for national journal. welcome back, nice to see you. >> you, too. >> let's take a look at white house propose. $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $400 billion in savings. is that how this $1.6 trillion is going to be reached? >> the way the $1.6 trillion will be reached is primarily through the expiration of the bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of taxpayers.
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then there would be some other increases in taxes on investment income, again for people above people making more than $250,000, and also some capping of deductions. so there's a, you know, a couple different ways that those will be reached. but the bulk of that does come through raising taxes on the top 2%. >> how about the $400 billion in entitlement savings. where is that supposed to come from? >> that's supposed to come from cuts in payments to providers, like doctors and hospitals. and it should be noted, too, that this proposal that the president put forward isn't necessarily something new. this is largely part of, you know, his past budgets and past deficit reduction plans that he's talking about. so we've seen these sort of numbers and figures before from him. >> what about the talk of cutting the mortgage deductions. that's in the president's proposal, right? >> well, part of the mortgage tax deduction is through what the president is talking about, about capping itemized deductions for top income people. so he's not talking about cutting the mortgage interest deductions specifically. what he's saying is, if you're a
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wealthy person, making over a certain amount of money, you're not going to be able to take as many deductions as you had in the past, and so mortgage interest deduction is one of those things that would fall under that. >> do you think some of this is vague, though, nancy? because really neither side wants to own this. >> i think what we've seen this week is a lot of political posturing. the president basically put out an opening bid, which is something that we've seen before, and now what he's waiting for is saying, okay, republicans, you want to see some spending cuts you put forward a specific number and a specific plan. but at this point both sides are being very vague and what they're doing is, you know, negotiating. >> nancy, is it possible to reach this same $1.6 trillion in revenue without raising taxes on the top 2% as republicans are proposing? >> well, you could raise about $1 trillion through not necessarily increasing taxes on the top 2%, but by increasing
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taxes on things like investment income, the estate tax. you know, there's other ways to get that money. i think the important thing to keep in mind is, you know, that raising taxes on the top 2%, part of it is political. it's something that the president campaigned on. it's something that he definitely wants. and it's something that republicans are very opposed to at this point. >> ultimately how much will any of these plans really cut into the national debt, which stands at what, over $16 trillion now? >> right. well part of the issue with these plans is just that some of them -- they don't necessarily address some of the long-term issues. and so over the long-term, over the next 10 for 20 years most likely taxes will have to go up for a lot of people, not just the top 2%. some of the middle-class people will have to give up some of their tax breaks and the thing is, as well, is that there will have to be some spending cuts in health care. we have a huge demographic problem in the country with baby boomers starting to retire and taking advantage of these federal health care programs. and we don't necessarily have the money to support that. >> okay. nancy cook, though, come on back
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again. i appreciate your time. >> thank you so much. here's another proposal, eliminating the dollar bill for the long-dreaded dollar coin is once again on the mind of lawmakers. a study introduced at a house hearing estimates that the switch would save about $4.4 billion over 30 years. but right now about $1.5 billion in dollar coins are stored at the federal reserve because few of us like actually using them. in this week's office politics we talk with "today" show co-host and msnbc's willie geist. he told me how hard it was to walk away from the show he launched "way too early" and whether he's a bad boy wanna-be. but i began asking willie about the daily experience of covering the presidential election with morning joe. >> well, we actually had fun. we went back and calculated. mitt romney declared his candidacy, june 2rd, 2011. so by the time we got to november 2012, it was 17 months we'd been covering this campaign every day. so certainly there were days where it was slow.
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but i mean, if you love politics, and your show is about politics, and you become the place to be for politics, how could you not love that? the letdown comes the day after, i think. obviously we had a lot of things to talk about now but you feel like, god, we've just been through this war and we've got to turn it around and get up for the game again the next week. but i enjoy it. a lot of people said it was long. it was probably too long. but they're always too long. >> it always feels like a week or two too long. maybe it's the anticipation, the eagerness, just get it done. >> right. and that's kind of become the cliche, thank god it's all over. >> yeah. >> but, it's the way we pick our presidents now. and we get depressed afterwards. >> how do you keep your neutrality? because you're on with morning joe and we've got a couple of hosts that have very different points of view, and then there's you. >> i think that's why i can keep my neutrality because we have all those points. i'm independent and it's the way i think and i do see both sides of it. when we're having a debate that's swaying one way or the other way i think what's the other side of this argument?
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hopefully that's helpful in some way. we don't become a run away train one way or the other. >> you're kind of playing devil's advocate at times. >> yeah, probably. probably. yeah. i think but not just for the sake of doing it, i think i have genuine questions. i mean i have my beliefs. but, i also, you know, i'm interested in hearing the other side. so i like having that debate. and that's the beauty of morning joe is we've created a place where that can happen. and we encourage it to happen and we don't have food fights and this guy's on the right and he's on the left and they go at it. we have real conversations. >> in the commercials that's when the fighting begins. >> that's when it gets personal. it gets ugly. talking about each other's moms. >> we don't like to talk about that right now. we do have to walk about "way too early" this is a show that you created. such great style about it. but you've left it. how does that feel? >> it's a little bit like giving up your baby. there's no question about it. i mean, we had such a small group of people who conceived of that and economic outed it every day. john power, alex corson the executive producer dan norwick,
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small group of producers who were here. the ones who came before that. i was there for 3 1/2 years. the last show was hard. and again mainly because of everybody in that control room. you know, you do it every day. you're truly nothing without all those people. >> as i look around here i'm looking at two musicians on the wall. you have keith richards and johnny cash. >> and jay z. >> okay, wait a second. all three of these guys are kind of bad ass in their respective worlds. are these your alter egos, willie geist on the wall? >> pop psychology, i like it. no, i'm so not a bad ass. >> oh, come on. how about a wanna-be? >> maybe, yeah. see, five years ago, i had a child, and i got on a show that started at 5:30 in the morning. >> you have no time -- >> so any bad boyness was sort of sucked out of me. >> how about the lucy and george thing, do they -- do they kind of like yo, dad, can we play, climbing all over you? come on, they're little.
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>> they are. the good thing about my job, i've always said this, is working so early in the morning, i get home in the afternoon, and i still do get home in the late afternoon, and i can see them for dinner, so i mean there are times, yes, when i'm on my laptop, in my room trying to get something done and my 3-year-old george will just come in with like a flying knee drop, and just get you right under the chin. then he puts the bubble guppies on the computer. they understand a little bit what i do for a living. they're just not interested. at all. in what i do. and i take no offense to that. i want them to know that. >> more of our conversation today at 12:00 noon. we're going to talk about willie's new official gig on "today" and his sports reporting. plus he's on a mission to mention his alma mater on tv as much as possible. we'll explain all that at noon. in a moment, settlements and statehood. why they're being called roadblocks too lasting peace in
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the middle east. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." if you are one of the millions of men
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new today, israel pushing forward with building plans for jewish settlements in east jerusalem and the west bank. secretary of state hillary clinton had new criticism for both sides last night. >> palestinian leaders need to ask themselves what unilateral action can really accomplish for their people. president abbas took a step in the wrong direction this week. we opposed his resolution. but we also need to see that the palestinian authority in the west bank still offers the most compelling alternative to rockets and permanent resistance. >> she said that israel's decision to expand settlements
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sets back the cause of peace. joining me is evelyn leopold, former reuters bureau chief at the united nations, and the huffington post contributor. evelyn, good morning. glad to have you here to talk about this. first of all, how does this vote at the u.n. figure into the equation? you write about the change from the word entities, as palestine recognizes entity to an actual state. that's a big word change. >> yes, except they're not full members of the u.n. but they have that word change. and they will use it as best they can. they can join more entities. >> why -- >> and it also boosts the palestinian authority, gives it more prestige over hamas. >> oh, absolutely. but, why did the u.s. oppose that? i mean, it is certainly in the vast majority in the terms of the number of votes in the u.n. >> enormous majority. more than anyone expected. why does the u.s. oppose it? because israel opposed it. because, mrs. clinton has said a few times, they have to
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negotiate. and not use new york platform instead of negotiation. however, alex, they're not negotiating, and they're going to need the obama administration to push them into it. >> is this a game changer in the mideast? how does this affect things, this new u.n. status? >> i'm not sure it's a game changer. because the palestinians still don't have their own country, and their own borders, and their own security and so forth. >> but the fact that they're identified as a state now. i mean, we constantly talk about a two-state solution. >> right. >> living side by side in peace. the u.n. says granted they're nonvoting, they're observer, but they are a state. >> exactly. >> i mean is that, that whole number of votes that supported that. doesn't it make a huge statement? >> it makes a statement symbolically, because they're not really a state in practice, because they don't really control every inch of their territory for obvious reasons. but, it's -- it makes a
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difference for them, because they feel then they can negotiate with israel state to state. not that they really can. but it's a big prestige thing for them, more symbolic than practical. >> what about israel's discussion about these 3,000 housing units that they're building there. does it just ramp up the tension? >> i think so. and i think it was a reaction to that. it was a punishment. they had threatened to do it much earlier, and now they did it. the timing was perfect. >> what's the difference between threatening to do something, saying they're going to do something, and actually doing something? what is the likelihood of -- >> i think they may actually do it. but one doesn't know right now, the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu is in an election campaign. and he may want to appear tough, and one will have to see after he gets re-elected whether he will go through with this. and the united states does not like this. nor does anyone else. in fact, the main reason that
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they got such a high vote is people were fed up with the settlements, even friends of israel, like germany and britain and so forth. >> hmm. all right, evelyn leopold. thanks for ironing out some things that are happening at the u.n. huffington post contributor. in a moment the fiscal cliff cuts that could affect people in a fight for their lives. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." you're watching weekend with add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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today is world aids day when people around the globe come together to show their support for the millions who have died from the disease and for those who are living with it. incredible advancements have been made, but a new report finds that budget cuts included in the fiscal cliff could cost aids and h.i.v. programs nearly 700 million in funding. we like to see that red ribbon on the front of the white house. joining me is michael elliott, president and ceo of one, the global advocacy organization formed by bono.
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>> how are you? >> i'm well. >> i'm thinking this red tie is an honor of world aids day. >> of course. >> aids research paints a pretty dire picture. how many people would these cuts affect? >> well, that i couldn't tell you precisely, alex. what is absolutely clear is that although we have made incredible, amazing advances in the treatment and prevention of aids over the last ten years, really extraordinary, really absolutely extraordinary, it's perfectly clear that if we're going to continue the fight against the pandemic to the extent we've done for the last ten years, then around the world, not just in this country but in other countries too, we've got to continue to put our shoulder to the wheel. we've got to continue to provide funding that builds treatment and prevention programs so that we can do what secretary clinton
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has said, both this week and in earlier speeches, we can actually do, and that is build an aids free generation. so the threat to funding in this country and around the world are really important to push back because we have made extraordinary progress. we will only keep making that progress if we continue to fund programs. >> you know, the goals that were set by the u.n. last year, michael, while admirable, you said that they're off track. we're not going to reach those goals. is it just monetarily? >> so look at this. the number of people who are receiving live saving treatment for aids. on that we're not doing so badly. there's been enormous, enormous increase in people who are getting life saving antiretroviral drugs. in terms of stopping
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mother-to-child transmission of hiv by 2015 which we actually should be able to do, we're a little off track on that. we think that if there is a real push on resources, if we find the funding for it around the world, we can get that back on track. in terms of stopping or reducing significantly the number of new infections, there we're off track. there we're off track badly, and that's something that we really need to work on. so the picture is, you know, we have to remember how much progress we've made in the last ten years that's been remarkable, but the picture is not one that's great and we have to stick to the job we've set ourselves. >> speaking of jobs, you came to one after the international editor of time and newsweek. are journalists covering it as well as they once did, michael? >> i wish people spent more time looking at the pandemic, alex, than they did. there are two stories that seem to me to be ones that really
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should grip journalists. one is the amazing, extraordinary life saving progress we've made because of a number of programs around the world recently. and the other is the job that's billed to be done. one of the great things is that people are engaging all the time. you can just kind of dial star star red right now and you'll be able to kind of join us and other organizations in the fight against hiv aids. >> it's the day to do it today, michael elliott, ceo of one. thank you so much for your time. i'm glad for the awareness with you. that is a wrap for "weekends with alex witt." straight ahead more smart political talk on "up with chris hayes." he's ready to go. i'm only in my 60's...
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